Bathroom Contemplations

by Marianne Tan
Photography by Chino Sardea, assisted by Mark Wee
Styling by CK Koo
Grooming by Zoel Tee using Laura Mercier and Hanz de Fuko
24 Mar 2021

Gregory Crouzeix, Managing Director Southeast Asia of the Hansgrohe Group believes in the importance of spending quality time in the shower

What does your time in the shower mean to you? Is it a perfunctory session, where speed and efficacy are of the most importance? Or is it a moment of quiet contemplation, where you luxuriate in being temporarily disconnected from the world?

There’s no reason your shower time can’t both meet your functional needs and provide a safe haven from external distractions, Gregory Crouzeix of the Hansgrohe Singapore believes. And he would know. The Southeast Asia managing director of the luxury bathroom fittings and kitchenware provider makes it his business to help customers create their dream bathrooms.

“The bathroom is no longer just the functional space of yesteryears, but a space that fulfils emotional desires,” he says. “Our customers expect to have high quality and aesthetically-pleasing products that provide convenience, simplicity and comfort.”

It is a sweet spot between practicality and luxury that’s well-matched by the German Hansgrohe, which has been defined by its tenets of innovation, quality, and design since its inception in 1901. Products under the Group’s AXOR and hansgrohe brands are regular fixtures at international design awards, including the prestigious International Forum (iF) Design Award. The company is also consistently ranked as one of the top in the world on the iF World Design Index, outperforming even brands like Apple and Audi in terms of product design. At their core however, are the precision and exacting standards that are synonymous with German engineering. This translates to faucets, showerheads and shower systems that check off all the boxes of quality in material, form and function. 

He explains: “It is our unrelenting dedication to invest in innovation that differentiates us from the other brands. At Hansgrohe, we believe that ‘standing still means going backwards’, as we never rest on our laurels and are constantly looking at breaking new ground.”


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Staying attuned to needs and wants of the customer

Innovation at Hansgrohe doesn’t just mean being ahead of the curve when it comes to the hardware. It also means being deeply-tapped into the psyche of its consumers. 

Before sustainability became the hot button topic that it is today, for example, Klaus Grohe, son of founder Hans Grohe, had already launched the brand’s first energy- and water-saving products. In 1987, the Mistral Ecoshower, which reduced water consumption by 50 percent, was introduced. “He started to think about sustainable innovations before most of our industry did,” says Crouzeix.

Today, AXOR and hansgrohe products offer a high level of customization, in anticipation of their customers’ desire to have fittings that reflect their personalities and tastes. The AXOR Signature customization service, for instance, allows clients to personalise AXOR products right down to the most minute of details, including custom labeling in any language, as well as logos, monograms, emblems, symbols, insignias or other visual motifs.

It’s the sort of single-minded commitment to knowing what the consumers want, sometimes before they are even aware of it, that 45-year-old Crouzeix is well-acquainted with.

Although based in Singapore, Crouzeix oversees the entire Southeast Asian market, 13 markets in total. “When I took over the position of managing director in 2019, I visited each market to understand its uniqueness, including its culture, languages and ways of doing business. This allowed me to think differently and build my visions to segregate the markets between emerging and maturing ones. This was essential in devoting the appropriate market resources for our next step to grow each market.”


(Related: Hansgrohe's Power Showers)

He adds, “It was too easy to view Southeast Asia as one market, but taking time to understand each market was definitely important for managing the operations in such an interesting and vibrant region.”

The French-born Crouzeix joined the Hansgrohe Singapore office in 2009, after stints in the Matsushita Group (present-day Panasonic) and cleaning systems company Karcher Group. At the Hansgrohe Group, he worked his way up the marketing and sales departments, before taking over the reins of managing director at Hansgrohe Singapore in 2019. 

Since moving to Singapore in 2019, he has become well-acquainted with the practical Singaporean qualities. According to him, the typical Singaporean Hansgrohe customer “looks for high-quality, design-oriented and sustainable products that last a long time” and “also pays attention to water- and energy-saving qualities”. 

To address these concerns, Hansgrohe offers products like the iBox universal, which conceals the faucet behind the wall for a cleaner, more streamlined look to save living space; and the PowderRain jet, which uses state-of-the-art technology to reduce water consumption by up to 20 per cent. 

Shirt, tie, and suit by BOSS

Moving with the times

For a luxury brand like Hangrohe, retail experience matters just as much as product quality. In Singapore, this responsibility falls squarely on flagship showroom, the Hansgrohe Aquademie located at Mohamed Sultan Road, the recent revamp of which Crouzeix says the company heavily invested in. 

In the redesigned showroom, consumers are invited to get even more up close and personal with the products. The reception area is now a modern open-concept space with a retail counter and workstations, which offers ample space for client presentations and events and at the same time, allows customers to view and touch a gallery of hansgrohe SilicaTec granite sinks. A newly-created area near the entrance spotlights the latest AXOR collections. Next to it, customers can familiarize themselves with and mull over product customization options for the ultimate dream bathroom or kitchen. 

And like all businesses adjusting to a new way of life in a world changed fundamentally by the pandemic, Hansgrohe Aquademie also offers virtual showroom tours and consultation sessions with retail staff. It’s a digitalization that Crouzeix believes could be beneficial to the industry over time as the use of digital media becomes increasingly widespread. 

“With digital media and digital marketing activities, we have the opportunity to be closer to our customers and to engage with them directly. This new interaction between the manufacturer and consumers is a great step towards a more targeted and relevant exchange.”


Turning inwards

Jacket and shirt by Shanghai Tang

To be able to thrive in a business that is centered around taking care of the needs of others, knowing when to disconnect and focus on oneself, even if only for a brief moment, is key. After a long day at the office, the ‘how’ of disconnecting for Crouzeix is, naturally, having a long shower. 

“For me, the bathroom is my personal feel-good space where relaxation takes centrestage. I am using our hansgrohe Rainfinity shower products combined with the hansgrohe Metropol bath and basin faucets.”

He waxes lyrical about the award-winning Rainfinity shower series, which he describes as providing “an all-around indulgence like (he’s) never experienced before”, where he feels “cocooned from head to toe in ultra-soft, micro-droplets”. 

“We all need deeply relaxing moments to recharge our batteries, relieve stress and tension, and find our inner peace. To me, shower time is significant, and I spend a long time in the shower,” he says. And that, is perhaps the secret to his achievements.

“(Shower time) allows me to be relaxed enough to think about personal and professional matters in the short, medium and long terms. Many of my decisions have been made during a nice, relaxing shower. Every shower gives me inspiration for new ideas.”